I love having dogs. It’s so rewarding. My dogs (like most!) are full of love, playfulness, and happiness. Even when I have a long day at work, they are always excited to see me…no matter how grumpy I am. And I have to admit, seeing tails wagging and ear-to-ear smiles is an excellent way for me to cheer up.
Pet dogs are a two-way street though. In return for their love and faithfulness, I need to give love and provide a safe and healthy environment for them.
When your pooch is doing something odd that you’ve never seen another dog do before, it’s smart to learn about what that behavior could mean. You’d sure hate it if you missed an obvious sign of illness because you couldn’t be bothered to read up on your dog’s weird behavior!
So, what about dogs that nibble the blanket? Why does my dog nibble blankets? There isn’t one quick and easy answer. However, the most likely reasons your dog is likely nibbling blankets because he’s bored, anxious or stressed, wants your attention, thinks the blankets taste and smell good, learned the behavior from other dogs, is a teething puppy, was weaned prematurely, is playing or has a medical condition or behavior issue.
To get to the root of the issue you’ll need to pay attention to all of your dog’s behavior. Then you can likely understand why your dog is gnawing on blankets and address it if you need to.
If your dog is nibbling on blankets, there’s a possibility that he’s bored. Dogs need exercise and mental stimulation. If they aren’t getting enough of either, they may start to explore their environment in other, possibly destructive, ways such as chewing on blankets.
Just the other day I saw the handy work of a bored dog and it wasn’t pretty. A colleague of mine had to replace the blinds on her floor-to-ceiling windows! Her dog is used to having plenty of toys along with the ability to go in and out as he pleases. There were no dog toys inside and she forgot to open the dog door one morning before work so her dog ‘played’ with the blinds.
So, make sure your dog is getting plenty of healthy stimulation, both mentally and physically to rule out boredom as a reason that he is nibbling on your blankets.
Stress Or Anxiety
Dogs might nibble on blankets because they are feeling stressed or anxious. This can happen when there are changes in the dog’s routine, when they meet new people or animals, or when there is a lot of noise. Dogs might chew and nibble on things (like your favorite blanket!) as a way of comforting themselves in difficult situations.
If you think that your dog is nibbling on blankets because of stress or anxiety, there are a few things that you can do to help. Try to create a calm environment for your dog. This might mean avoiding situations that make your dog anxious and providing him with a safe place to go when they feel stressed. You might also want to talk to your veterinarian about possible medications that can help your dog feel more relaxed.
Dogs may nibble on blankets when they want your attention. When dogs are feeling lonely or neglected, they may start looking for ways to get your attention. If your dog feels like he isn’t getting enough attention, then he may even be okay getting negative attention by getting in trouble for nibbling on a blanket.
Try spending more time playing and interacting with your dog, and make sure you give him plenty of positive reinforcement when he isn’t nibbling on blankets or doing something else you don’t want him to do.
The Blanket Is Yummy
Some dogs may also nibble on blankets because the fabric has a taste that they enjoy. Blankets and other fabrics can pick up all sorts of smells and flavors from their surroundings.
Some dogs find these different scents appealing. If you’re using a ‘tasty’ (to your dog at least!) laundry detergent or the blanket smells heavily of your scent your dog might be nibbling on blankets because he thinks it tastes good.
Learned It From Other Dogs
It’s also possible that a dog is nibbling on blankets because he learned the behavior from watching other dogs. If you have more than one pet dog in your home, it’s common for dogs to learn behaviors from each other.
When we got our second dog, she practically trained herself by copying what our first dog did when we gave commands. It was fun to witness!
So, if one dog is chewing or nibbling on blankets, another dog may see it as acceptable behavior and start to do the same.
Puppies chew and nibble on many objects when they’re teething because it helps soothe their gums. What they chew on to find relief can range from blankets to your hand. It is a normal part of their development, and it usually stops when their discomfort stops. Until then, many puppies find comfort in chewing on soft, non-food items.
You probably won’t like everything that your puppy decides to nibble and chew on, after all, he’ll probably chew on anything he can get to. If your puppy is constantly nibbling on your blanket, you may want to give them some appropriate toys to chew on instead.
Weaned Too Soon
If a puppy has been weaned from his mother too soon, he may start to chew and nibble on objects as well as start other less than desirable behaviors. Weaning a puppy too soon can lead to all sorts of behavioral issues as he tries to adapt to life without his mother’s guidance. Make sure you wait until your puppy is old enough before separating him from his mother completely.
Some dogs may nibble on blankets as a way to play. Dogs may see the blanket as a toy and start to play with it by nibbling and chewing on it. This could be a way for the dog to release some energy and have some fun.
Be sure your dog is getting enough exercise and playtime to help burn off any excess energy. If you think your dog is nibbling on blankets because he needs more physical or mental exercise, try giving him some new toys to play with or taking him for more walks.
Pica is a condition where dogs or other animals eat things that are not food. This could include items like fabric, dirt, or concrete. There are a few different reasons why dogs may develop pica, including nutritional deficiencies, boredom, or stress.
If you suspect your dog is nibbling on blankets due to pica or has any other signs of pica, it is important to take them to the veterinarian to rule it out.
Obsessive Compulsive Behavior
Obsessive compulsive behavior often develops in dogs when they are extremely bored. In search of something to stimulate their minds, dogs will pick up some odd behaviors.
Over time, those behaviors may become ingrained in them and be a part of who they are and how they act. Dogs may nibble on blankets as a result of a obsessive compulsive behavior. This means that the dog feels (or at some point felt) the need to do certain behaviors over and over again because it makes them feel better.
If your dog is nibbling on blankets due to obsessive compulsive behavior, it is important to talk to your veterinarian about whether there are any specific behaviors that you can work on changing together.
New Medical Issue
If your dog has never displayed this behavior before, there may be a new medical issue leading to your dog nibbling on blankets. Dogs don’t have an effective way to tell us when something suddenly isn’t right.
In fact, some dogs actually try to hide pain and illness. However, if your dog suddenly starts doing something odd that he has never done before, it could very well be that he is sick or injured.
If your dog has never nibbled blankets before and suddenly is, you probably want to err on the side of caution and call your vet for a second opinion.
Is It Okay For Dogs To Nibble On Blankets?
If your dog is only nibbling and not ingesting any of the blanket he nibbles on then yes, it is most likely okay. However, if you’re like me, you don’t want your dog nibbling on your blankets even if it is ‘okay’.
Also, if your dog is ingesting any part of the blanket, then you’ll want to stop him from doing so.
Swallowing foreign objects can be dangerous for digestive systems and isn’t something you should allow your good boy to do.
How To Stop A Dog From Nibbling On A Blanket
If your dog is actually swallowing any part of the blanket or you (like me!) don’t want your dog to nibble on your blankets, then you’ll want to safely get your good boy to stop.
Here are some good ways to teach your dog that nibbling on blankets isn’t okay.
The ‘No’ Command
Training your dog to understand what you mean when you say ‘no’ is a necessity. Not only for blanket nibbling but also for many other things.
If your dog is nibbling on blankets, one of the best ways to stop this behavior is to use the ‘no’ command.
Simply say ‘no’ in a firm voice every time your dog starts to nibble on a blanket. Once your dog understands that you will keep stopping him from nibbling on the blanket, he will be less likely to do it again.
Make sure to consistently enforce this command when your dog is caught nibbling on blankets to ensure they learn that this behavior is not allowed.
Distract Your Dog
If your dog is chewing on blankets because he’s bored or seeking your attention, you can try to distract him with toys or activities. Try playing with your dog or giving him a toy to chew on instead of a blanket. This can help keep him occupied and stop him from nibbling on blankets.
This was how I stopped our first dog from chewing up my shoes. Though he had plenty of hard ‘bone’ type toys, our dog didn’t have anything soft that was easy to chew on.
When we brought home a couple of good chew toys that were all his, our dog completely stopped chewing up my shoes.
Another way to stop your dog from nibbling on blankets is by using an anti-chew spray. This is a product that tastes bad to dogs and will make them stop chewing on things they shouldn’t.
Theoretically, the anti-chew spray won’t harm blanket fabric, however, just like you would with a new cleaning product, I’d test it on an inconspicuous spot before applying it to the whole blanket.
Talk With Your Vet
Finally, if you’re concerned about why your dog is nibbling on blankets, you should always talk with your veterinarian. There could be an underlying medical condition causing this behavior and it’s best to get professional help in order to address it.
Summary: Why Do Dogs Nibble On Blankets?
There are a handful of likely reasons why your dog may nibble on blankets. It could be that they’re teething and need something to chew on to help soothe their gums. If your puppy is weaned too soon, he may start to chew on objects as he adapts to his new life.
Some dogs may nibble on blankets as a way to play. Others may do it due to pica or obsessive compulsive behavior. A yummy tasting blanket, boredom, and stress can also cause your dog to nibble on blankets.
If your dog has never nibbled on blankets before and suddenly starts, it could be that they’re sick or injured.
If this is the case, you should take them to the vet to get checked out.
If your dog is only nibbling on blankets and not actually swallowing any part of them, then it is likely okay. However, if your dog is ingesting any part of the blanket, you’ll want to stop him from doing so as it can be dangerous for their digestive system.
There are a few ways you can stop your dog from nibbling on blankets. You can use the ‘no’ command, distract your dog with other activities or toys, and use an anti-chew spray.
Of course, if you’re concerned about a medical issue or need more personalized advice I’d recommend talking with your veterinarian.